Sunday, August 22, 2010

what I really meant to say was....

I keep avoiding the explanation of my vague comments on this here blog.. like here, here, and here.
I guess it would be easier to say that for the past 4 days we've been dealing with quite a blow. A huge, kick you in your balls and your head kind of blow.
There is no surprise that we've had our fair share of financial problems. Financial problems that have been going on for a good 3 years now. We are no different than anyone else that's struggling and I will never believe that we deserve extra-special attention because ..wahh we have 2 kids, one with a heart defect..oh why me? why us? why? works. It doesn't work. And I always refuse to take that route. I don't want to create that sort of drama. I know that sadly, we are not the only family struggling right now.
Now don't get me wrong, a good thorough cry always helps.. 2 nights in a row of freak-out moments where you lay in bed and it hits you..the realization that you honestly have no clue how you're going to pay next month's rent.. EAT because hey you have to eat.. and you know that the internet/phone bill is already overdue and doubled and will probably be turned off anytime... you cry and you can't stop because you've held it in all day long. You stay strong and optimistic, you worry, but you continue to stay strong and optimistic because you'd like to believe that optimism breeds good karma.
You let it roll of your shoulder when a few of those pessimistic people state that things are tough because you're "not doing enough to change your situation".. "you're kids don't deserve this"..and my personal favorite, "what did you do wrong?"
I refuse to place anymore blame on the economy. On the construction trade, or on anything else that makes the achievement of a new job a helluvalotta more difficult. You have no more time and energy to place blame.
You persist and you persist and you make calls and you fill out those government applications that take days to complete but you do it. You do it because you have to get back to seeking jobs on Craigslist, and Monster, and Indeed, and this and that.. you have to go to job websites where they say they're hiring but the hiring process takes a few months, but you fill out those 250 questions questionnaire applications because you fucking WANT the job. You want any job but you especially want a job that will put food on the table, keep the electricity on, keep gas in your Caravan's gas tank, maybe even keep the internet working, and maybe even..just  maybe have 10 bucks in your pocket to take the kids to some sort of outing on the weekend. Even if it's just a drive to save your sanity.
Then you have a child who doesn't have enough pants for school, another child that needs a new coat soon because you know damn well October could be freezing and snowing, and all of the good coats at the local thrift store will be bought up, both kids need socks, and you and your husband haven't bought yourselves a new pair of shoes in a year and half and the soles are totally worn.
But you deal with it.
And I deal with it with a smile if my kids are taken care of. If they have full bellies, clean clothes, and smiles on their faces then the struggle is worth it.
We've had months where we were lucky. The unemployment, at least, was rolling in while we searched for work and Rick was able to do some side work here and there. Thank god for great friends and connections.
We got to pay our bills on time or early and all was comfortable.
Then you begin saving some money to plan for the inevitable pitfalls of unreliable unemployment because you know damn well that they'll find some sort of "discrepancy" and cease your payments because they yet again made an error due to something you had no part of..
Except this time...
you use up your 13 weeks of unemployment and no that you'll need to use that saved money for
You get a letter saying that you can file for the extension and just be sure to call before the date posted so there's no lapse in payments.
You do just that and then you find out that you may qualify for Colorado benefits and are instructed to call them. You do that and wait 2 hours on hold to speak with one of the 2 women taking calls that day.
You find out that the benefits would be $225 a week which FREAK YOU OUT WTF and that it's okay, you can call Maryland back and they'll take care of you since you collect $410 a week and can pay most of your bills with that and they left you with the option of choosing which state you can collect from.
Then Maryland tells you that you fell for their joke because "yeah, it's the law to collect Colorado unemployment since you now qualify for benefits in your own state.. so long sucker."
You once again, freeze up and don't know what to do. You can feel your heart pounding out of your chest. You feel sick to your stomach with worry.
After yet another 2 hour wait and after 3 times of your home phone's battery dying from waiting so long, you find out that you will in fact be taking the decrease and also told rudely "just be happy it's not 50 bucks a week like the last guy I spoke to".
So, we are now expected to survive off of $900 a month.. A HUGE SCARY decrease from the $1620 a month we squeaked by with.
Frantically, I ran to DSS Friday with our millionth application for government assistance because hey! that's what it's for ..ya know times like these?! You feel sad. You feel like shit. You feel pathetic. You worry that they'll just make you feel more like shit...but you know that from working for so many years that you've paid tons of taxes you know that you paid into it years ago. Or so you would hope to think...
So, now it's a waiting game. We find out Tuesday if we qualify for any help.

For now, I keep frantically applying for jobs in hopes I can find something quick and full time so Rick can just be home with the kids which makes sense for now. For now. At least.
Something to pay the bills and make sure we can survive. Something to hold us over until both of you have your careers on track.
And when you say "career" to yourself you laugh because even simple jobs nowadays, jobs you already have listed on your resume, now demand that you have a BA degree PLUS the experience.

We're fighters but I keep bordering between freaking the fuck out and just feeling.... numb.
I cried and shouted my "why us, why us, why now? we're good people" and it got me no where except left with swollen eyes, lack of sleep, a worried husband, and a headache.
But the amount of support we've had from some people has left us stunned with gratefulness and feeling ..just lucky. And so thankful for what we do have.
We are trying to see this is a huge pothole in the road that we need to somehow drive around and not hit cars while doing it. We're staying hopeful and strong..because our kids deserve to see us feel strong.. not put on a fake brave face.. we need to be real with them.. and it never hurts to pray your ass off.


Kristin said...

we will find you a job.. no mater what.

Valerie Eshenbaugh said...

Job sites:
Food pantries:

Dawn, honey, I want you to know that we've been where you are financially. I can't say it's identical, BUT, I can say that there are resources out there to help you with food. There is also the Salvation Army who helps with electric bills during the summer, and gas bills during the winter if that's how it's split up for you guys.
Call the food pantry and they'll get you set up for some food. It's twice a month you can go, and they give you a great portion of things. We've had to go through them ourselves, and they're some of the most giving, understanding, and no question asking people. Call some around your area tomorrow hon. They'll get you in within 3 days and you'll have at least something to put on the table.
Here is the Salvation Army link:
Sweetie, please please breathe and know that if you need help it's out there. It's not the best, but it is definitely something more than what you have currently.

lizzy said...

hang in there, sister. i've been there--still am, in so many ways. it's humiliating, demoralizing, soul-crushing. i know it all too well.
i found a great therapist who helped me find some perspective. and, as you know, my hubs filed a bankruptcy. honestly, it was the best thing we could have done.
don't be afraid to ask for what you need. and don't be afraid to accept help.
we pay taxes into this... you've been paying into social services. if you need them to help you get through a difficult time, it's your right. it's your money to begin with.
your friend valerie is right on with her resources and advice.
the first thing you need to do is stabilize and prioritize. get yourself out of the panic, continue to work forward.

Stefenie said...

I truly feel for you guys. We struggle too and it seems like the past year has been especially difficult on us. Of course Logan just had another surgery in January so that definitely didn't help. It is tough and nobody likes to ask for assistance but Like you worked all those years and paid into the pot. Now it's time for you to collect when you need it. Don't let anyone tell you that you are worthless for asking for it. That is what it is there for and you are not abusing it or taking it when you don't need it.

Hang in there....keep your chin those precious babes....and have faith that things will open up for you!

The Bent Bunch said...

Kristin- you guys have done SO much.. not a day goes by where I thank "the man upstairs" for us meeting you.. and you know that I'm not very "religousy"..LOL
Val- I forgot to tell you thank you for your links ..I saw these about an hour after you posted them and began bookmarking stuff. Thank you so much! I am so thankful for your help!!
I'm going to get ready and post how our DSS appt. when today.. I wanted to get into more about a few resources that our caseworker mentioned. I didn't even think of Salvation Army!
Liz and Stefenie- first off, Liz! your blog! I have the link again!! I don't know how but I lost it a while ago and kept forgetting to ask you for it on good 'ol Facebook. LOL so now I can stalk you again.
Thankfully (oh so thankfully) we've had family medicaid for about a year now and without that, oh dear god..I don't even know. I've always said, that at least we have that.. they paid for my hysterectomy and care, Natalie's open heart surgeries.. etc etc and no questions ever really asked once we applied for it all. That's one thing I can never complain about.
I hate to walk around with this feeling of ownership for food stamps and/or welfare, but it's hard to not think about how really did pay for it.. we all do. You think.. "if I could just get a few months of help..just a few months". I didn't even know that you two were also struggling and I hate to see that. And Liz, I didn't even know that your husband filed for bankruptcy! It's crazy how many of us are going through this stuff.. but we're strong. After all, we're women. lol ;)
I thank you all so much for your comments!!

Lunch Buckets said...

I know it doesn't really change anything, but I'd love to buy your kid some pants. I know it doesn't change anything, Email me!